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Breaker Morant (1980) Poster

Quotes

[last lines]

Harry Morant: Shoot straight, you bastards. - Don't make a mess of it!

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George Wittow: Did you write that, Harry?

Harry Morant: No, no. It was a minor poet, called Byron.

Peter Handcock: Never heard of him.

Harry Morant: I did say he was a minor poet.

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George Wittow: [after Handcock has admitted to murdering the missionary] Major Thomas has been pleading justifying circumstances and now we're just lying.

Peter Handcock: We're lying? What about THEM? It's no bloody secret. Our graves were dug the day they arrested us at Fort Edwards.

George Wittow: Yeah, but killing a missionary, Peter?

Harry Morant: It's a new kind of war, George. A new war for a new century. I suppose this is the first time the enemy hasn't been in uniform. They're farmers. They come from small villages, and they shoot at from behind walls and from farmhouses. Some of them are women, some of them are children, and some of them... are missionaries, George.

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Major Bolton: How did Lt. Handcock look?

Corporal Sharp: Like he was thinking, sir... like... I can't think of the...

Major Bolton: Did he look like he was agitated?

Corporal Sharp: Agitated? Yes, that's it, sir. Yes, sir, he looked agitated.

Major Thomas: Objection. Major Bolton is leading the witness.

Major Bolton: I will rephrase the question, sir. Tell me, Corporal Sharp, how did Lt. Handcock look?

Corporal Sharp: Agitated, sir!

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Major Thomas: The barbarities of war are seldom committed by abnormal men. The tragedy of war is that these horrors are committed by normal men in abnormal situations.

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Sentry: Do you want the padre?

Harry Morant: No, thank you. I'm a pagan.

Sentry: And you?

Peter Handcock: What's a pagan?

Harry Morant: Well... it's somebody who doesn't believe there's a divine being dispensing justice to mankind.

Peter Handcock: I'm a pagan, too.

Harry Morant: There is an epitaph I'd like: Matthew 10:36. Well, Peter... this is what comes of 'empire building.'

Major Thomas: Matthew 10:36?

Minister: "And a man's foes shall be they of his own household."

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Harry Morant: As a matter of interest, how many courts-martial have you done?

Major Thomas: None.

George Wittow: None?

Peter Handcock: Jesus, they're playing with a double-headed penny, aren't they?

Major Thomas: Would you rather conduct your own defence?

George Wittow: But you have handled a lot of court cases back home, sir?

Major Thomas: No. I was a country-town solicitor. I handled land conveyancing and wills.

Peter Handcock: Wills. Might come in handy.

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Peter Handcock: [standing on a table] There once was a lad from Australia, who painted his ass like a dahlia, the color was fine and likewise the design, but the aroma -whew!- that was the failure.

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Lt. Col. Denny: [regarding Kitchener's order to shoot any Boers taken prisoner] Do you really believe that Lord Kitchener, a man venerated throughout the world, would be capable of issuing an order of such barbarity?

Major Thomas: I don't know, sir. But I do know that orders that one would consider barbarous have already been issued in this war. Before I was asked to defend these soldiers, I spent some months destroying Boer farmhouses, burning their crops, herding their women and children into stinking refugee camps where thousands of them have already died from disease. Now these orders WERE issued, sir! And soldiers like myself and these men here have had to carry them out however damned reluctantly!

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Peter Handcock: [Drummond has just left the witness stand] You couldn't lie straight in bed, Drummond.

Sgt. Maj. Drummond: I don't have to take that from you.

Peter Handcock: You wanna do something about it? Come outside, I'll knock your bloody head off!

Lt. Col. Denny: Control yourself, Mr. Handcock, or you will find yourself in serious trouble.

[Handcock scoffs at this]

Lt. Col. Denny: You find that amusing?

Peter Handcock: Well, I was just wondering how much more serious things could be.

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Sentry: [to Major Thomas] Excuse me, sir. I was in a public house last night, sir.

Major Thomas: We're you, Sergeant?

Sentry: Yes, sir. I overheard one of the witnesses talking about the prisoners. In his cups he was, sir. A very indescreet gentleman.

Major Thomas: [later in court, questioning Corporal Sharp] Have you not been saying in the local pubs that you would walk barefoot from Cape Town to Petersburg to be on a firing party to shoot Lieutenant Handcock?

Corporal Sharp: [visibly shaken] Well, sir I might have said something like that over a pint, sir. It may have been the beer talking, sir, not me, sir.

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Lord Kitchener: Needless to say, the Germans couldn't give a damn about the Boers. The diamonds and gold of South Africa they're after.

Major Bolton: They lack our altruism, sir.

Lord Kitchener: Quite.

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Harry Morant: Live every day as if it were going to be your last; for one day you're sure to be right.

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Peter Handcock: New South Wales Mounted? What sort of a lawyer are you?

Major Thomas: They haven't locked me up, yet. What sort of a soldier are you?

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Major Thomas: Tell me, Mr. Robertson what was Lt Hancock's reason for putting Boer prisoners on open cattle cars on the trains.

Capt. Robertson: Well the Boers had been mining the lines and blowing up a lot of trains. He thought it might stop them.

Major Thomas: Well did it?

[Robertson looks at the prosecutor]

Major Thomas: Did it?

Capt. Robertson: Yes, but I don't think...

[he's interrupted]

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Harry Morant: We shot them under Rule 303.

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Peter Handcock: Well, they say a slice off a cut loaf is never missed.

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Peter Handcock: [after helping repel a Boer attack on the prison where he and Morant are being held] Well that broke the monotony.

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Harry Morant: It really ain't the place nor time to reel off rhyming diction, but yet we'll write a final rhyme while waiting crucifixion. For we bequeath a parting tip of sound advice for such men who come in transport ships to polish off the Dutchman. If you encounter any Boers, you really must not loot 'em, and if you wish to leave these shores, for pity's sake, don't shoot 'em. Let's toss a bumper down our throat before we pass to Heaven, and toast a trim-set petticoat we leave behind in Devon.

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George Wittow: [Saying his goodbyes to Morant and Handcock] Harry! Peter!

Peter Handcock: See you in hell, mate!

Harry Morant: [Gripping George's hand] Goodbye, George.

George Wittow: [Sobbing] Why did they do this to us, Harry? Why?

Harry Morant: They have to apologize for their damned war. They're trying to end it now, so they need scapegoats.

George Wittow: [Being dragged away by prison guards] HARRY! PETER!

Harry Morant: George! We're scapegoats to the bloody empire!

George Wittow: [Being led past the soldiers preparing their rifles for Morant and Handcock's firing squad] Jesus...

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Harry Morant: [Thomas is visiting Morant on the morning of his execution] Cheer up. You look as if you were going to a funeral.

Major Thomas: Harry...

Harry Morant: It's all right, Major. I've had a good run. There's nothing for me in England anymore. And back in Australia, well they say if you need a couple of stiff drinks before you climb up on a wild horse, you're finished.

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Major Thomas: The fact of the matter is that war changes men's natures. The barbarities of war are seldom committed by abnormal men. The tragedy of war is that these horrors are committed by normal men in abnormal situations. Situations in which the ebb and flow of everyday life have departed and have been replaced by a constant round of fear and anger, blood and death.

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See also

Trivia | Goofs | Crazy Credits | Alternate Versions | Connections | Soundtracks

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